Reality TV doesn't have to mean a battle between meathead and mercenary for sub-celebrity status.
When produced with care and intelligence, it can provide compelling, insightful revelations which make us look again at the people we see, but rarely consider, in our daily lives.
The famous ITV series 7 Up, which catches up with random individuals around the UK every seven years (now at '56 Up') does just that, through people who never sought celebrity status but just agreed to talk candidly once in a while.
The way life lifts you up and throws you down, cripples you with grief, then bathes you in sunshine - it's all here.
But what's been most poignant is the disbelief with which some of the participants have greeted films of themselves as skipping, laughing children.
They simply didn't recognise their happy younger selves.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for parents is to keep that seven-year-old alive inside our kids for as long as possible.